We are going to start our journey in reducing our toxic load in the laundry room for a few reasons:
1) believe it or not, it likely contains some of your most toxic products,
2) your laundry products are in constant contact with your body, and
3) it’s easy.
So what is the best non-toxic laundry detergent? First, let’s talk about what you are currently using.
I can’t argue that traditional laundry detergents like Tide and Gain have an uh-mazing smell. I LOVED the smell of Tide when I was younger; so it took me reading a few disparaging articles before I finally broke up with that heavenly scent for it’s less toxic counterparts. Other than it’s intoxicating smell, when it comes to laundry detergent, there is only the bad, the ugly, and the uglier.
Conventional detergents are comprised of a concoction of fragrances (which we have already learned is not good), endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and carcinogens. Most detergents have distinct scents that are designed to penetrate your clothing and stay there. If you sleep in pajamas, you are likely wearing these toxin-laden garments 22+ hours a day! The unscented versions are not any better and may be worse. “Unscented” just means masking chemicals were added to cover up the odor of the other chemicals. This is why your laundry room could very well be the most toxic room in your home
Grab your laundry detergent, softener, and any other product you put into your washer/dryer when doing laundry. Read the labels and see if any of these ingredients are on the list: fragrance (see THIS POST to learn why this is one of the top 10 ingredients to avoid), optical brighteners, Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs), bleach or sodium hypochlorite, Linear Alkyl Benzene Sulfonates (LAS), phosphates, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), or Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS).
1,4-Dioxane (aka Dioxane or Diethylene Oxide) is another harmful toxin found in many commercial laundry detergents, BUT IT LIKELY ISN’T LISTED. This ingredient is not intentionally added but rather is a byproduct of the process that makes your detergent bubblier. Since it is not an added ingredient, it doesn’t have to be on the list.
You may be wondering what problems or health concerns each of these chemicals pose; however, I intentionally left that information out. I’m trying not to provoke too much anxiety about the past/present, remember?! No sense in worrying yourself over something that is done. The main point of this post is to convince you that the scent of your detergent is not the most important aspect and isn’t worth the associated risks.
Have you ever been strolling through your neighborhood and all of a sudden you are hit with a potent “clean linen” fragrance? I definitely have, and I used to love it. But, as I’m sure you can deduce from the information above, it isn’t a good thing. All those toxic chemicals I mentioned above become airborne and travel through your vent into everyone’s “fresh air.” Laundry products are one of the few that actually affect everyone around you. So if you make a safer choice, you are actually helping out your neighbors to0! And who said you weren’t neighborly?! Side note, this is a GREAT reason for you to share this blog with your neighbors 🙂
Ok, I’ve done all I can do without getting into the nitty gritty details. Hopefully by now you can see beyond the scent.
So what are the best non-toxic laundry detergents?
Well, here is my humble opinion. I’ve listed some of my favorite safer detergent options below. Check them out and see if one might work for your family!
A+ ingredient lists are almost completely plant based and mostly organic.
A- ingredient lists are a mixture of plant derived and synthetic ingredients but all ingredients are low-risk (no carcinogens, hormone disruptors, etc.).
B ingredient lists contain mostly synthetics but still low risk overall.
*Click links for purchasing options
- Molly’s Suds
- A- ingredient list, powder
- Average 4.5 star reviews on Amazon
- GREAT backstory
- Options to fit all needs: Powder Detergent, Super Powder, Liquid Detergent, All Sport Laundry Wash
- NaturOil Soap Nuts
- A+ ingredient list, excellent reviews
- 2nd only because it is very non-traditional and takes a tiny bit extra effort for certain loads
- When you become a believe in soap nuts, buy in bulk HERE
- These are not strong stain removers but do clean well. Personally, I have been trying them out for the last few weeks and like them. They got rid of stain and odor on a urine-soiled mattress protector with no problem.
- Tip: soak 5-6 nuts in hot water for a few minutes to activate them if you are doing a cold water load
- Eco-Me Liquid Laundry Detergent
- A+ ingredient list, liquid
- Average 4-star reviews
- I used this one prior to switching to Nellie’s, and it worked well. I just prefer powders because they are a lot less messy! Be sure to shake it well before pouring.
- Nellie’s Laundry Detergent
- A- ingredient list (no major concerns but 2 of 5 ingredients could be irritating to sensitive skin types if clothes aren’t well rinsed; i.e. don’t use this detergent to literally wash your clothes by hand)
- I have personally used this detergent for over a year now with no irritation issues. It works great and even gets my husband’s stinky work clothes clean.
Did you find one you want to try? Comment below with which option you plan to try first, and I’d love to hear your feedback once you do! You’ll notice all of my links in this post are from Amazon. I try to use Amazon as often as possible because I know most people are familiar and comfortable with purchasing from Amazon. Almost all Amazon products I recommend will be Prime eligible products so that shipping is free! Lastly, I do check the company’s websites as well and will include these links if it is a better deal. In today’s post, the company sites didn’t beat out Amazon.